Molina’s choice: college or pro?

RBC shortstop Al Molina has a decision to make: play college baseball at Coastal Carolina or chase the dream of playing in the major leagues right now

Red Bank Catholic shortstop and pitcher Al Molina had his entire family over for a barbecue after graduation day when the Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the 29th round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft.  After all the hugs and congratulations on social media, Molina and his family had to get to thinking on a major career decision.  Signed to play college baseball at Coastal Carolina, the recent RBC grad now must choose between college or the pros.  Ironically, Molina happened to find himself at the major league park of the team that drafted him.  He delivered a key two run double for the Jersey Shore All-Stars in a semifinal win over Delaware County in the Carpenter Cup semifinals.  He started at shortstop for the Jersey Shore in both games at Citizens Bank Park helping his team win the 16 team tournament at the Phillies home.  Phillies officials greeted him and offered congratulations on the field after the title game.

Major League Baseball teams draft both high school and college players in its amateur draft.  If Molina goes the collegiate route, he can not re-enter the draft for three years.  The Phillies drafted 40 players earlier this month and have a pool of money they can use for signing bonuses to their selections.  Each round has a certain dollar slot assigned to it, but teams can save money by offering lower signing bonuses to players in exchange for a high draft selection.  Phillies 2014 first round pick Aaron Nola, a pitcher from LSU, was signed to a $3.39 milion dollar signing bonus which was the assigned slot value.  In the 9th round, the Phils drafted Temple pitcher Matt Hockenberry and he signed for a $5,000 signing bonus, $145,000 under slot value.

The highest signing bonus Molina can receive is $100,000 based on current MLB draft rules.  His decision now is based on what the Phillies offer him as a signing bonus.  Going to play college baseball will give him a chance to be drafted in the first ten rounds three years from now where the bonus money is much more significant.  The Phillies have already signed 25 of their first 27 2014 draft picks.  

Coastal Carolina has become a Division I power just outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  CCU has made the NCAA Division I baseball tournament in twelve of the last fourteen years, twice reaching the Super Regionals, one step away from the College World Series in Omaha.  Coastal is debuting a new $10 million dollar baseball stadium on campus for the 2015 season.

Longtime Chanticleers head baseball coach Gary Gilmore called Molina “a complete difference maker” in an article in the Myrtle Beach Sun News.  Gilmore expects Molina to be on campus in Conway if the Phillies offer him the typical signing bonus of a 29th round pick, but if they up the ante that could change things dramatically.

Molina has until July 18th to make his decision, but he told Shore Sports Zone he hopes to make up his mind sometime in the next week.